new investor, multiple questions re: next property

3 Replies goes. My first post on BP although I have been lurking for a while.

Eight months ago a bought my first ever property, a duplex. As required by FHA, I am living in one of the units. My original intention was to live here for several years, rent out the other unit, and eventually save enough to buy my next property and keep this one to rent out both halves. But, I feel the need to accelerate this now. I love the house, but I need fewer neighbors and enough land for a clothes line!

I spoke to my mortgage broker three days ago, and was given some unpleasant news. She says a whole slew of brand new FHA regulations just came into play...including one that says if I rearrange my current FHA into a conventional loan in order to get a new FHA on another property, that the new property has to be 100 miles away from the first. Has anyone else run into this?

She did mention that I could get a duplex with a partner and each of us would "only" need 10% down, or consider getting a SFH and need only 2% down. A SFH has no appeal to me...I want a tenant to help pay my mortgage! A duplex is ok, but with a partner on the other side paying their mortgage, I still don't have anyone helping to pay mine.

I do have a friend (and former roommate) who has 15 years of equity in her SFH. She wants to sell it, and we are considering buying a duplex together so that we can share our assets (lawn mower, washer/dryer, etc.) as we did when we lived together. She is self-employed (her own business) but makes very little money on paper. Between the two of us, I think we should be able to combine our assets (her equity, my stable employment, both of us with good credit) into the ability to buy a property. I just don't know the best way to go about it. I don't know enough to know what I don't know.

Can anyone suggest something I should look into? I have two "next steps" planned, one of which is to meet with a realtor who specializes in investment properties...very much looking forward to that. The other step is to talk to another mortgage broker at Wells Fargo...I found mention on this site of a possible 2% down mortgage on duplexes offered by them....might be just smoke and rumors, but I want to check it out.

Any suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks for reading all of that!

I am going to add a question to this post to attempt to resurrect it, as I still am hoping for some input!

As an update: Wells Fargo has no 2% down deal on duplexes. I was approved for a multi family mortgage, but they required 20% down...that's not going to happen any time soon!

However, a "retention specialist" from my mortgage company called me a few weeks ago, and stated that if the value of the house has gone up since I bought it (and it probably has...I have been doing some work, and had improvements made by a contractor) then it may be possible to have it reappraised. If the value HAS gone up to the point where I have 20% equity, then I could convert my FHA mortgage into a conventional, thereby enabling me to drop the PMI.

This sounds good...but does that also mean that I can get another FHA mortgage at some point down the road? My understanding (see my original post) is that since the rules changed recently I can not get another FHA unless the new property is 100 miles away from my that forever? Or is there a time limit? What if I convert to a conventional and wait a year? Two years? Or am I banned forever? (My current duplex is a buy and hold investment.)

Thank you!